Vets' fight continues

By Harrison Christian

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Wayne O'Donnell.
Wayne O'Donnell.

The Mururoa Nuclear Veterans Group Inc has met to discuss fundraising efforts, to ensure its members' descendants can be tested for health problems caused by nuclear radiation exposure.

The society comprises 300 crew members who were aboard the New Zealand and Australian naval vessels sent to Mururoa Attol in the Pacific Ocean in 1973, in protest of French nuclear testing.

It is establishing a trust fund to enable medical testing of the members' children and grandchildren.

The group's president Wayne O'Donnell, 61, was an engineer and a ship's diver aboard the frigate HMNZS Canterbury.

"I was in the boiler room and also in the water, so I copped it in more ways than one."

The Havelock North local said up to 90 per cent of members were suffering from cancer-related illnesses and a couple of members' children were already affected by diseases which could only be passed down from radiation interference.

Mr O'Donnell said the main objective of yesterday's AGM, hosted by the Hastings RSA, was to get a consensus from members to continue to raise funds so that their children and grandchildren could be tested for nuclear radiation interference.

The society's major sponsor, Trans Pacific Timbers, presented the group $1000.

Mr O'Donnell said the process of obtaining disability allowances had proven they were suffering side effects of exposure to nuclear radiation.

"Our biggest goal is to get the recognition that yes, we were affected by nuclear radiation, which we have already proved."

The society receives no funding from the Government and is trying to raise $30,000 for medical tests through the Givealittle website.

To donate, visit: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/mururoavets

- Hawkes Bay Today

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